FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – One of Kentucky’s most popular state parks is getting a $1.3 million facelift, as part of the “Restoring the Finest” initiative for the parks system.
According to the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade will receive a new lodge roof, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, and renovations for most of its lodge rooms.
This latest announcement means Natural Bridge will have received approximately $1.8 million in improvements since 2016 under the Bevin administration. An additional investment of nearly $700,000 was made to replace the bridge to Hoedown Island at the park last fall with joint funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“Natural Bridge State Resort Park is critical to tourism and economic development in this community,” Tourism Deputy Secretary Regina Stivers said during an announcement at the park. “We are thrilled to announce this funding, and we appreciate the continued support our parks receive from Governor Bevin and the General Assembly.”
The state park system received $38 million in added funding as part of the “Refreshing the Finest” program in 2016-2018. Gov. Matt Bevin and lawmakers approved a $50 million bond issue for the improvement campaign in state parks during the 2019 General Assembly. The initiative makes structural repairs and safety improvements throughout the parks system.
“The Kentucky State Parks were facing $240 million in deferred maintenance at the beginning of this administration,” Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland said. “Thanks to this funding, we are making much-needed repairs and improvements to help keep our parks open and contributing to the tourism economy across the state.”
Natural Bridge State Resort Park has a lodge, restaurant, cottages and campground. The park offers recreational activities such as hiking and swimming, a trail that leads to a natural bridge and easy access to nearby Red River Gorge.